Unfortunately, Argento's output has become less inventive, both visually and from a storytelling point of view, over the last decade. I still anxiously await every project he attempts, hoping for a return to the form that originally made me a fan. Although I've yet to see Argento create a film of the same calibre of Tenebre, Profondo Rosso, or Suspiria, the ‘Masters of Horror' entry, Jenifer is the closest effort we've seen to classic Argento, from a visual standpoint. The subject matter is quite a bit removed from anything Argento has tackled before – dealing with much more sexual material than his prior works, yet the visual inventiveness we've come to expect from Argento is noticeable from the very first sequence.
The teleplay was written by Steven Weber (yes that Steven Weber, from ‘Wings'), and was based upon a short story that appeared in an issue of Creepy Magazine. Weber is generally not known as a writer, and the only reason I can think of for this inclusion in the ‘Masters on Horror' series is Weber's previous involvement in Mick Garris' re-imagining of The Shining. However it came about, I'm glad it did. Jenifer is the best entry in the first season of ‘Masters of Horror', I've seen thus far. Incorporating Argento's unique visual style with the most sexual (Garris' own Chocolate excluded) and violent subject matter to date, Jenifer is certainly a stronger instalment than those that came prior.
For those unfamiliar – Jenifer concerns a cop (Steven Weber) who, after saving a disfigured woman from a madman, finds his sanity slowly deteriorating and his life with his family being destroyed, as his involvement with ‘Jenifer' becomes stronger. What occurs throughout the near-hour long running time is at times both disgustingly violent, and disturbingly sexual. These events however, serve to establish credibility as the plot progresses, and are the foundation for your enjoyment of the picture.
I, for one, have been largely impressed by the Masters of Horror series. I enjoy seeing some of my favourite directors creating the types of films I like to see. The series has shown a level of creativity beyond what I would expect. Generally I've been impressed with the quality of output throughout the series. Original works from Carpenter, Argento, and Coscarelli; Stuart Gordon lensed another H.P. Lovecraft adaptation. I'm already anxious to see what Mick Garris has in store for the second season. As far as the first season is concerned, Jenifer is the best I've seen, and is the closest work to classic Argento we've seen in years.